Valencia got their La Liga campaign off to a flyer with a workmanlike 1-0 victory over Malaga at Mestalla.
A second-half Ricardo Costa goal proved enough to edge out Bernd Schuster’s men in what in truth was a drab affair in which neither side created many meaningful chances, the Portuguese central defender taking advantage of a blunder from Malaga stopper Willy Caballero to poke the ball home on 65 minutes to give the hosts victory.
New Malaga signing Marcos Angeleri almost put the visitors ahead after just five minutes but saw his header from Duda’s corner go wide, while at the other end Adil Rami passed up a great opportunity with a free header that sailed over the bar.
Angeleri wasted another header before half-time, but the game was settled 20 minutes after the break when Caballero fumbled a high ball inside the box and the ball landed kindly for Costa, who gleefully rolled the ball home.
The Costa del Sol side did offer some attacking threat late on but it was too little too late as Valencia boss Miroslav Djukic celebrated his first game in charge with all three points.
Valencia:Alves; Pereira, Rami, Ricardo Costa, Bernat; Javi Fuego, Michel; Fede (Feghouli 66), Banega (Canales 85), Viera (Guardado 78); Postiga.
Malaga: Caballero; Gamez, Angeleri, Chen, Antunes; Tissone; Duda (Samu 69), Sergi Darder (Fernandez 80), Pedro Morales (Anderson 69), Fabrice; Santa Cruz.
Goals: Ricardo Costa 65 (V)
Referee: Alvarez Izquierdo